@ Royal Festival Hall, London, 6 August 2004
Royal Festival Hall must be a daunting venue to play only
your third gig, but the fact Martin Rebelski's first solo
gig was at the Royal Albert Hall should help take the edge
off his nerves. Add to this a full time job as keyboard
player in The Doves, the backing of a five-piece band and
the support of a couple of guest vocalists and it's no wonder
he looks so comfortable on stage in such hallowed surroundings.
recently signed to Badly Drawn Boy's Twisted
Nerve label, it is clear from the instrumental opener onwards
that Rebelski is intent on keeping his boss happy through
the very highest form of praise: imitation. It's not just
his multi-instrument playing that draws comparisons between
himself and the wooly-hatted one but the very style and
texture of the music he produces. Whether on xylophone,
keyboard or piano, the Mancunian's combination of warm melodies,
deep melancholy and earthy lo-fi touches all contribute
to make the Rebelski sound seem almost derivative at times.
are some distinguishing features, however, like the Mercury
Rev-style orchestration and some weird old wibbly
organs that create a whiff of Beck but
it is not until the end of the set that we hear some deviations
from the badly-drawn blueprint. Mike TV
offers his vocals to lightly brushed keys, a hypnotic kickdrum
and some space invader sound effects before a simple, strutting,
uptempo instrumental builds and surges into an ecstatic
finale and it is these set-closers that show Rebelski's
true individual talent.
who takes a backseat, Rebelski seems to have the seeds of
his own unique sound planted already, let's hope they take
root and he develops into a musical innovator rather than
merely a competent imitator of his idols.
- Ian Roullier, 08/2004